If your job vacancies are languishing unfilled, you’re not alone. Vacancies have been on the rise—in fact, according to a report from Reuters, U.S. job vacancies hit a record high last July, and employers are struggling to fill vacancies quickly. Such a record high has a real cost for companies. Vacancies—especially prolonged ones—cost employers quite a bit in terms of productivity and revenue. A CareerBuilder survey put the average cost of a job remaining vacant for three months or longer at $14,000.
The lingering-vacancies culprit? Most likely, it’s a gap in your talent pipeline. As employees exit your company, you just don’t have enough ideal candidates lined up, eager to take their place.
A gap in your talent pipeline is literally leaking money. The good news? There is a way to strategically stop up that gap: by tapping into the power of employee advocates. With employee advocacy, you activate your current employees into brand evangelists by giving them the tools they need to spread strategic employer brand messages to their own networks. Employee advocacy is a powerful antidote to a leaky talent pipeline, as it fills your pipeline with top candidates and engages passive candidates.
1. Plugging Your Pipeline With the Right Candidates
Your job postings may be generating a lot of submissions—but still, your vacancies remain unfilled. Sifting through resume after unqualified resume has become a familiar—albeit soul-sucking—task. If that’s the pipeline problem you’re currently facing, then your challenge is not finding candidates, but finding the right ones. Employee advocacy can point you in the right direction.
The beauty of a formal employee advocacy program is that you’re able to tap into your employees’ own social networks to reach potential candidates. This is powerful for two reasons: 1) Your employees’ social media networks are often expansive, which means you’re now reaching candidates who probably are not following your company’s official social media presence—or perhaps have never even heard of your company before, and 2) our social media feeds tend to be filled with people similar to us. For example, a college-educated, tech-savvy Millennial most likely has many followers who share the same traits. If your current employees are consistently bringing their A-game, then you want candidates just like them. That’s why it makes sense to tap into employees’ own networks, full of like-minded individuals who possess similar skills and backgrounds.
Employee advocacy is like an old-school employee referral program but tailored to the digital age—which makes it an especially potent recruiting strategy. In fact, 78 percent of recruiters cite employee referrals as the source of their best quality candidates, according to a Jobvite survey. Just like with a formal referral program, employee advocacy relies on relationships built on know, like, and trust. Unlike a referral program, however, employee advocacy programs allow your employees to reach far more potential candidates who “know, like, and trust” them with just a push of a button. Tapping into the power and reach of your own employees is a smart way to fill your pipeline with not just more candidates but more candidates who share the same values and skill sets of your current, kick-butt employees.
2. Priming the Pipeline with Passive Candidates
You can use employee advocacy to occasionally advertise job openings—but where employee advocacy really shines is in shedding light on your employer brand and company culture. After all, who can speak more authentically (and therefore more persuasively) about what it’s like to work at your company than your own employees?
So, why is that important for stopping your talent pipeline gap? Two words: passive candidates.
Citing research from a LinkedIn survey, Ron Stewart writes at ERE Media: “Professionals around the world agree that whether their prospective company is a good place to work is a highly important factor. 56 percent say the company’s work culture reputation is the most important factor when considering a new job...90 percent of passive [candidates] are passionate about the work they do, and a company that appreciates their work is essential. As a result, company branding and social media presence [are] more important now than ever.”
Passive candidates may not be looking for a job right now, but they are paying attention to what their acquaintances on social media are saying. And as Stewart points out, passive candidates care deeply about company culture. A Facebook post about a new job opening might not register with them, but a post from a friend featuring a human-centered story about their workplace? That will catch their attention. Using employee advocates to talk about their own positive experiences with working at your company will help ensure you stay top of mind with passive candidates. That way, when they move from “passive” to “active,” these candidates will plug up your pipeline by coming to you first.
With employee advocacy, you can plug your pipeline with a two-part strategy:
1. Reach more of the right active candidates by harnessing the power of your employees’ social networks, which are filled with talented, like-minded individuals.
2. Prime the pipeline by using your employee advocates to share employer brand messaging and personal stories with passive candidates, who will in turn keep you top of mind.
As you explore ways to implement your own employee advocacy program to fill the pipeline, finding a strategy that feels authentic and is easy to use will be key for getting your employee advocates on board.